Love them or hate them, the ubiquitous “Simulator” games continue to go from strength to strength causing a considerable amount of bemusement that baffles most critics. Traditionally these games feel like harmless fun but some games now give the impression that they can train you to do the real thing.
Simulators of the Surgeon, Goat, Rock or even Grass variety offer gimmicky fun for a few hours, but they are ultimately novelty games with little replay value once the joke has outstayed its welcome, but you could argue that they attempt to inject a little fun into the genre and don’t take themselves too seriously.
For instance, check out our As We Play of Goat Simulator. It might give you some idea what we mean.
Being able to let your imagination run wild and be whoever you wanted to be in another universe has always ensured a healthy amount of escapism in gaming, so it’s something of a surprise to see gamers escaping to play games where they perform everyday jobs complete with mundane tasks.
I have very fond memories of Theme Park and The Sims and this concept has always been on the periphery, but in a world littered with AAA titles on consoles, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised to see people turning to games that offer a little more imagination than the same set of sequels released each year for FIFA, COD, Battlefield and Assassin’s Creed.
Maybe we have tired of the same old games? Perhaps this has opened up a niche market offering a completely different experience that may, in some small way, help you understand another profession?
Not convinced? Let’s take a look at 7 of the most notable and intriguing simulator games that are so much more than being just another novelty game.
Euro Truck Simulator 2
Life on the road can be lonely with nothing but a scotch egg, pot noodle and a copy of Razzle, but there is something quite romantic about a long haul journey from Swansea to Stuttgart on a school night that is hard to resist. It is easy to see why this game won Sim of the year in 2012.
Czech studio SCS have a completely engrossing game on their hands, especially if you have the steering wheel etc. for full dramatic effect. When you are next in the pub with your mates, you might want to be careful about sharing over enthusiastic stories of how you were driving through Huddersfield at 3am and nearly jack knifed into a ditch when falling asleep at the wheel, though.
If you have ever been to a campsite and looked admiringly at the static caravans for your very own holiday home only to see the costs involved and extortionate ground rent, then thought “what a rip off, I wish I could run my own campsite” then this is the game for you.
The road to building your own empire of 5* camping sites is not an easy one, though, especially when you are up against staff striking, fires and food poisoning, to name but a few. If this sounds too mundane, then you might be better watching Carry on Camping for a few hours instead.
Microsoft Flight Simulator X
So you’ve dreamed of becoming a pilot and now find yourself sat in the cockpit at 07:00 going through your pre-flight checks before your 08:00 take-off from Ibiza to Rome. A few years ago it seemed that everybody had a PC with the special Flight Sim joystick and a manual the size of War and Peace, but the genre is still alive and well and looks more beautiful than ever before.
The game is incredibly in-depth with over 24,000 airport locations to fly in and out of, and if you ever wanted to add a little fun, feel free to put on your headset and shout “Get those snakes off my mother ***** plane”
Street Cleaning Simulator 2013
Have you ever had ambitions of, quite literally, cleaning up the streets? Excalibur publishing have you covered with a game that allows you to do just that.
In Street Cleaning Simulator, you are the proud owner of a small firm specializing in keeping the town’s roads free from all the leaves and dirt that accumulate over time.
Train Simulator 2014
Fans of trains have long been a misunderstood breed, but in the comfort of your home you can rock the London to Faversham line without having to explain yourself to anyone.
Although the sound of trains will quickly become annoying to some, there is no doubt that this is the best train simulator available for gamers and I can’t believe I just wrote that out in full..
Farming Simulator 2014
We are surrounded by technology, but as humans we yearn for the days of simplicity and romanticise at just how much better lives would be if we could live off the land and have our own Farm. Well, now you can do just that, but without getting up at 4am, coupled with all the incredible hard work that goes with it.
Even without the hard work, the routine of sow, reap, and repeat was enough for me to discover that I’m not cut out for this farming malarkey, but if you are more at home with your inner hippy side then this could be the game for you. Just make sure you experience it whilst listening to the Housemartins singing “Me and the farmer.
Car Mechanic Simulator 2014
Fed up of being ripped off by mechanics and secretly wondered what it feels like to baffle your customers? Car Mechanic Simulator allows you the create your own Garage like the infamous Archers in EastEnders.
It won’t be long until you are changing brake pads and find the confidence to hold your own in a real life conversation about cars and stuff next time you enter a garage.
Visceral Clean-up Detail
Although still in early access, this title is also worth a look. Imagine you’ve completed a first person shooter and the credits start to roll, who is going to clean up all the carnage that has been left behind? You are! That’s right, a street cleaner game of sorts where you have to clear up the body parts, bullets and rubbish carelessly left behind by casual gamers. What a joy that’ll be…
Although this compilation is an overview of the best quirky simulator games available, we would love to hear more of your personal favourites and which simulators you fancy giving a try. Please let us know by commenting below.